Two week’s ago I showed you my new kitchen floor (and colorful rug). Well, my kitchen also now has a new faucet! The fabulous people at Moen asked me to try out their new Arbor kitchen faucet with MotionSense. Test out a hands-free faucet? You bet!



To put it In a nutshell, Arbor with MotionSense is an amazing new system that allows you to operate the faucet without physical contact ñ literally eliminating steps and inconvenient messes that still happen with those faucets that you have to touch to turn on.

I decided to install the system myself. I don’t consider myself adept at plumbing so Iím not going to take you through the process. I will say the hardest part was removing the old faucet. 


Installing the new one was super simple. I couldnít believe it. The only real challenge was that I turned the water off to my whole house and had no way to wash my hands until the job was complete.

Anyway, thatís not the point. I completed the process flawlessly, if I do say so myself. The best part? No leaks!



Now, more about the faucet. It is freaking amazing! There are a couple sensors in it. The first, which is on top, is called the wave sensor. You just wave your hand across the top and the faucet turns on. Wave your hand across it again, and it turns off.

The second sensor, the ready sensor, is located in the bottom front of the faucet. This one is my favorite. 



If you put your hands, a drinking glass, or a pan in front of the faucet it automatically senses your presence. When you are finished and move away from the sensor, the faucet automatically turns off. Genius! 



The Arbor with MotionSense is more convenient than standard faucets because it senses how the user wants the faucet to work and responds accordingly. 

There is also a traditional handle that allows you to adjust the water like a standard faucet.

For the hands-free option, the system allows you to set the water to whatever temperature you want. Mine is set right in the middle, room temperature. There is also a pull-down sprayer. This can be adjusted to a stream or spray. Love that!

Needless to say, I am enthralled with the Arbor with MotionSenseI also feel pretty cool when guests come over and I can show them how awesome the faucet is. And of course, I love the fact that since Iím not touching the faucet or lever constantly, it stays significantly cleaner and “less germy.” A real bonus in my busy kitchen. To check out product features and locations to buy, click here.

So what do you think? How would the Arbor with MotionSense simplify your life?

Leave an answer to that question below and be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card! You can put it toward the purchase of your own Arbor with MotionSense! Good Luck!

Here’s how to enter:

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. 

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. 

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.


The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/29/13 – 2/28/13

Be sure to visit the Moen brand page on BlogHer.com 

There you can read other bloggers reviews and find more chances to win!

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/21/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Two week’s ago I showed you my new kitchen floor (and colorful rug). Well, my kitchen also now has a new faucet! The fabulous people at Moen asked me to try out their new Arbor kitchen faucet with MotionSense. Test out a hands-free faucet? You bet! To put it In a nutshell, Arbor with MotionSense is an amazing new system that allows you to operate the […]




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Drink – Green tea is the best. After some advice from my BFF (the best RN in the world) and reading this, I’ve been on a huge green tea kick this past week. I also got this lovely yellow planner from The Hatch. The table runner is from here.

Cuddle – I don’t know about you, but I hibernated a little bit this weekend. It was magic. It allowed me to sneak in some snuggle time with two of my favorite furry friends.

Celebrate – I was so excited on Friday to learn that I had won an amazing giveaway from Closet Freaks. Lots of fabulous swag. I mean, it’s a full outfit including shoes! A big thanks to Anthony and Dustin.


Style – Speaking of fashion, I’m on the hunt for some boat shoes. I ordered these and these. Let’s hope I like them and that they fit. Have you jumped on the boat shoe bandwagon? What brand is your favorite?

Party – This weekend I stumbled upon this fabulous idea for popcorn from She Wears Many Hats. How festive, cute, and colorful. I’m putting this idea in my back pocket.


Create – Speaking of colorful, I’m totally in love with this interior cabinet redo from the girls at A Beautiful Mess. The color is magical! (I was also super excited to see them feature the home of one of my favorite bloggers – Jennifer Johner of Dearest Someday. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here.)

Health – The weather changed for the better on Sunday, so I managed to get in a two-mile run. Do you remember how Phoebe used to run on Friends? Kills me every time.

Bloom – Remember a while ago I showed you my air plants? Well, I’m happy to report one finally bloomed this weekend. How cool is that?


Social – On Sunday the new smartphone app, Vine, blew up like crazy! So many bloggers (including me) have joined the latest craze in social media. It’s an app that allows you to share six-second looped / stop motion videos. It’s kind of fun. You can find me at “InspiredbyCharm”.


Brew – I’m also considering getting a Chemex coffeemaker. Any advice? I’ve been using a Keurig for several months now and have been totally disappointed with the coffee quality (Maybe this is also why I’m drinking so much green tea.) I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Hope you had a fab weekend! What fun things did you do or find?


This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/21/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Drink – Green tea is the best. After some advice from my BFF (the best RN in the world) and reading this, I’ve been on a huge green tea kick this past week. I also got this lovely yellow planner from The Hatch. The table runner is from here. Cuddle – I don’t know about you, […]




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This is the first post of a new series ‘Lessons From” 

which will appear on Inspired by Charm every Saturday.

Hope you enjoy it! 

More Lessons From:

Adele

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/26/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

This is the first post of a new series ‘Lessons From”  which will appear on Inspired by Charm every Saturday. Hope you enjoy it!  More Lessons From: Adele This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/26/2013.All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.




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Last week I showed you my new kitchen floor. Even though I still have to touch up paint and fix molding, I did manage to find an adorable new rug*! 

Pretty amazing, right? The colors are perfect and the pattern is totally fun. But let me take you back to where I started. For years, I had this commercial-grade black rug. Thankfully, despite being nondescript (a.k.a. boring), it functioned well and held up to everyday wear and tear.



I searched and searched online and at a few local shops for the perfect rug, but to no avail. Then, I happened to get a FLOR catalog in the mail and was immediately attracted to one particular collection. Fifteen minutes later I ordered the squares needed to create the perfect little rug. (Oh by the way, this is not a sponsored post, although I am a huge fan of FLOR if they are looking for a future product tester or something like that.) 



Anyway, the squares are from the Parallel Reality collection. I ordered two of the pink, two of the purple, one green, and one burgundy.


The site mentioned that these particular squares are designed for a high traffic area. Since this is the most-used entrance to my house, I decided to up their durability with Scotch-Gard. I spray all my rugs with this stuff. It just seems to help them hold up longer.


To make things easy, I sprayed all of the squares individually and let them dry. Yes, I used my old rug as a drop cloth.  



Things are looking better already.

I then played around with the squares until I found the perfect color arrangement. Clearly, I’m having a bit too much fun with this. The process for putting them together is pretty genius. FLOR provides these cool little stickers to keep everything together. 



And that’s it, friends! My new, colorful rug!



I’m totally in love with it and super pleased with FLOR and their quality and service. Remember a while ago I asked you about them? Well, I’m pleased to report they rock! 


So now that I have a rug, I need to get my butt in gear to finish these other little projects. Thankfully, the temperatures here (as in most of the country) are below freezing this week. It’s the perfect excuse to never leave the house if you ask me!


What do you think? Have you ever ordered from FLOR? 


*Fun Fact:  The difference between a rug and a carpet is their size. Basically, any piece less than 40 square feet is considered a rug, while anything larger is a carpet. Also, today we use the term rug to distinguish an area rug from wall-to-wall carpeting. (I had to Google this when I was writing the title of this post.)

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/24/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.


This is not a sponsored post by Flor or Scotch Guard

Last week I showed you my new kitchen floor. Even though I still have to touch up paint and fix molding, I did manage to find an adorable new rug*!  Pretty amazing, right? The colors are perfect and the pattern is totally fun. But let me take you back to where I started. For years, […]




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This past summer I jumped aboard the fiddle leaf fig tree bandwagon and purchased two very small ones. You can read about that here. Since no stores near me were selling these bad boys, and because I didn’t want to spend $100+ on an indoor tree that I would most likely kill, I found a retailer on eBay who was selling very small trees that were propagated from a larger one. While I realized this was a little chancy, I figured the small investment was worth the risk. Thus, Bonnie and Clyde were graciously welcomed into my home. Surprisingly, seven months later they are still alive and thriving. 


Let’s take a look at where they started…



and where they are now.

Looking pretty good, right? I kept both trees outside on my porch most of the summer. In the beginning, I did lose two big leaves off Bonnie and thought she was a goner! Luckily, I was able to provide the care she needed, and she started producing new leaves in no time. 



After the summer, at the first sign of frost, I moved them into my dining room. My goal is to have both of them be taller trees. Therefore, once new leaves form, I have been removing leaves toward the bottom. I have no idea if this is the proper way to do these things, but so far it’s worked pretty well for me. From what I can tell, both trees are growing fairly quickly. I seem to get a new sprout of leaves every month or two. 



Bonnie is clearly kicking Clyde’s butt in the growing department, but he isn’t too far behind. I’m just still surprised that I’ve managed to keep them alive this long.  (Yes, that is my new bar cart. We will talk about that another time. You can read about my dining room chairs here.)


The retailer I purchased mine from doesn’t have any fiddle leaf figs on eBay at the moment. If you are interested, I recommend doing a search every once in a while. Something is bound to pop up sooner or later.


So that’s a little update on my two trees. Do you have or want a fiddle leaf fig in your space? 

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/23/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

This past summer I jumped aboard the fiddle leaf fig tree bandwagon and purchased two very small ones. You can read about that here. Since no stores near me were selling these bad boys, and because I didn’t want to spend $100+ on an indoor tree that I would most likely kill, I found a […]




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As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, I’m starting some new series on the blog. Weekend Wanderlust was the first and A Year of Yeast is the second. (I’m basically holding myself accountable for creating some awesome new content because that’s how much I love you!) Anyway, for years, I have avoided any recipe that involves yeast because of the time it takes and my fear that things won’t rise and the recipe will go horribly wrong. Well, with those concerns packed away, I’m challenging myself to embrace yeast. Every other Tuesday, now through the end of the year, I will be sharing my adventure, hence a year of yeast. To start, I will be using other peoples recipes* with hopes of developing my own as I get a bit more comfortable. Sound good?




You can thank my sister-in-law for today’s recipes. A few years ago we went to an Outstanding in the Field dinner and the guest chef was Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. My sister-in-law bought me his book, My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, but until now I hadn’t used it. 



Basically, Jim has a technique for bread baking that requires no kneading. For a bread baking novice, I figured this was the perfect place to start. His recipe for Stecca, similar to a baguette, immediately caught my eye as it was covered with tomatoes and olives. Yes, please!


The complete recipe and directions can be found below. The process is really rather simple. Combine all your ingredients. 


 Including the dreaded (not so much anymore) yeast. 


Mix it all up. Then let it sit and rise overnight (12-18 hours).


By the next morning my dough had doubled in size. 


Next, scrape it out of the bowl, fold it over a few times, and let it rise again for another two hours. (Again, detailed directions are below.)


After that, remove it from the bowl again and quarter the dough with a knife.



Stretch each quarter of dough into a long, thin baguette and place the baguettes on an oiled baking sheet. 

Tuck in the olives and tomatoes, brush with olive oil, and add a little salt and / or pepper. You can also use cloves of garlic or green tomatoes. I just used what I had on hand. Be sure to tuck them in pretty good. A few of my olives and tomatoes popped out during the baking process.



Slide the pan into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes at 500 degrees F. That’s it, peeps!


Hot, delicious bread! 


Admittedly, due to the dough-rising process, this recipe does take some advance planning. Here’s the thing, though: the hands-on time is minimal and the process really couldn’t be easier. 

I think this was the the perfect start to my baking adventure. Now, I’m wrapping these up and sending them to my grandparents. If I don’t, I will eat all four loves in one sitting. Seriously.


Just to be clear, this is not my recipe. All the credit goes to Jim Lahey. I’m merely copying his genius.

…………………………


Recipe from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey.

3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool 55-65 degree F water
Additional flour for dusting
20 pieces of any combination of the following: whole garlic cloves, whole olives, halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, table salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the water, and using a wooden spoon, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough (about 30 seconds). Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size (10-18 hours or 24 hours if you have a cold home).

2.  When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Fold the dough over itself two or three times and gently shape it into a somewhat flattened ball. Brush the surface of the dough with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the coarse salt (which will gradually dissolve on the surface).

3.  Grab a large bowl (large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size – You could also use a large pot.) and brush the insides of the bowl with olive oil. Gently place the dough, seam side down into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel. Place in a warm, draft-free spot and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven (with a rack in the center) to 500 degrees F. Also, oil a 13″ x 18″ x 1″ baking sheet.

5.  Cut the dough into quarters. Gently stretch each piece evenly into a long, thin, baguette shape approximately the length of the pan. Place on the pan, leaving about 1 inch between the loaves. Embed the garlic cloves, olives, or cherry tomatoes into the loaves, about five pieces per loaf. Drizzle, dab, or brush olive oil on each loaf. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt over each loaf. Remember to go light on the olive loaf since the olives are salty.

6. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a pan for five minutes; then use a spatula to transfer each baguette to a rack to cool thoroughly.

…………………………


Happy baking, folks! 

*If you have a favorite or go-to bread recipe, please leave it in the comments. Be it salty, sweet, or something in between, I’m looking for great recipes.

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/22/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, I’m starting some new series on the blog. Weekend Wanderlust was the first and A Year of Yeast is the second. (I’m basically holding myself accountable for creating some awesome new content because that’s how much I love you!) Anyway, for years, I have avoided any recipe that involves yeast because of […]




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interiors

Planning – I finally broke out my Stendig Calendar and a few packs of Post-It Notes this weekend. With a little help from Sebastian, I got to work planning an editorial calendar for Inspired by Charm. I’m really excited about some amazing new material and several series I have planned for this here blog. More to come!


Health – In addition to eating better, I’m attempting to run two miles every day. While this doesn’t sound too challenging, it’s a little more daunting when the temperatures are below freezing. I’m learning to dress accordingly. 

Little Things – As part of my new year’s goals, I’ve been attempting to eat a bit healthier. Every once and I while I do sneak in a little treat. One of my favorites is stirring a spoonful of Nutella into hot oatmeal. To die for – trust me. 

Art – Inspired by the fabulous Will of Bright Bazaar, I ordered one of Anna See’s colorful facade prints. I’m in love with it. Now I’m just waiting for the frame to arrive so I can hang it on my gallery wall! 


Music – I’m absolutely loving new-to-me artist, Johnny Flynn, and his album, A Larum. My friend, Jen of Onion Grove Mercantile mentioned him on Facebook this weekend and I’ve been hooked ever since. I highly recommend checking it out. 


Decorate – I was excited to see that this past week my local Walmart got in a shipment of orchids for Valentine’s Day. I love that they are only $13 each because I can’t seem to keep an orchid alive to save my life. That doesn’t stop me from trying though. 


Drink – Who doesn’t love milk and cookies? Victoria of A Stuble Revelry made this experience extra special by creating the cutest red heart ice cubes. Not only do they keep your milk ice cold (a must for me), they also turn it a beautiful shade of pink as they melt. 

Eat – I’m drooling over this cinnamon-streusel coffee cake from Martha Stewart Living. Whip this cake up on a Monday and you have breakfast for the entire week! 

Entertain – A candy necklace for a napkin ring!? What a smart, simple, and surprising use. It’s little touches like this that make a party special and memorable. 

Style – I’ve been on the hunt for a fun beach / summer hat for an upcoming Caribbean cruise (Yes, after 6 years, I’m finally going on a vacation.). I am in love with this colorful orange beauty from Mind the Chap. I’d be cruising in style!


Hope you had a happy weekend! What fun things did you do or find?

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/21/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Planning – I finally broke out my Stendig Calendar and a few packs of Post-It Notes this weekend. With a little help from Sebastian, I got to work planning an editorial calendar for Inspired by Charm. I’m really excited about some amazing new material and several series I have planned for this here blog. More […]




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interiors

I didn’t mean to leave you in suspense last week. I met my BFF for lunch this past Sunday and even she said to me, “I can’t believe you didn’t show your finished floors in your post. I was like, is that it!?” So you have my apologies. Though, in my defense, getting new kitchen flooring is a huge deal to me. For that reason, I needed to break this beast up into as many posts as possible. I hope you understand. So, without further ado, here is the floor!



As noted in the title of this post, these are just progress shots. While the actual floor is 100% finished, its installation created a domino effect of other projects. I chose a ceramic tile which has the look of carrara marble. It’s beautiful without the high price tag. The installers did an amazing job, with only a few small issues that need to be corrected. Hopefully, that will be happening soon.


I originally intended to have the tiles set on the diagonal. Since my house is almost 100 years old, the floors are not perfectly level. This creates an issue when laying tile in a diamond pattern. If the floors are not close to perfectly level, the points of the tile will stick up. Obviously, this isn’t ideal. Because of this, I decided on a staggered pattern which actually turned out to be a happy accident. I’m completely in love with this pattern. Not only does it have a modern feel, but I think it really reflects the house’s character so much better. Don’t you? 


So back to those little details that need to be corrected. Over time, pretty much everything is going to be repainted. Although pink and gray aren’t colors I’d pick if I were designing my own kitchen, I like them. I’ll have some paint matched and get everything touched up. I knew there were some nicks and scratches here and there, but they weren’t obvious until I got the new floor. Plus, I’m pretty sure that the installers created some new marks. 


My goal over the next two years is to replace the countertops, backsplash, and stove. Since it took me five years to get new flooring, I’m not holding my breath. 


You’ll also notice my window still looks incredibly silly. Yeah, I was pretty bummed about that, too. You may remember that I partially removed the built-in banquette to let in more natural light. 

Well, it turns out that part of the window is still blocked by some weird piece of wood. I’m not sure what’s going on. So now the plan is to replace the window. (I suppose this is why they tell you to budget for more than the actual cost of the project.) Not only will this fix the weird wood issue, but I’ll also put in a double-hung window that can actually be opened. Talk about a huge bonus. Hopefully, my Dad can help me get that in sometime soon. If not, I can wait until spring. I also will be replacing the molding around the window as I assume it was cut off to accommodate the banquette. It just looks pretty crappy right now.

Also, removing the banquette created this mess with the walls and molding.



You can see that I gave everything a quick coat of paint so it didn’t look quite as terrible. Once all of that is complete, I can start decorating. I want some seating in the kitchen, but I still haven’t figured out what. I’ve been searching online for benches with no luck so far. Right now, I’m trying out the cafe table and chair look. 



I was kind of liking it, but then I got the new Better Homes & Gardens in the mail yesterday, and I fell in love with their front cover.



I mean, how perfect would this look in my space, right? Thank goodness I have some time to test things out. 

Before I go, let’s have one more quick look. Before



and after.



Amazing! So that’s it, my new kitchen floor. Thank you for being patient with me. I’ll be sharing my efforts as I attempt to wrap this project up as soon as possible. What do you think? Big improvement, right?


P.S. I also think I need this refrigerator. Wouldn’t it be too perfect? I just need one person to agree with me. 

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/16/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

I didn’t mean to leave you in suspense last week. I met my BFF for lunch this past Sunday and even she said to me, “I can’t believe you didn’t show your finished floors in your post. I was like, is that it!?” So you have my apologies. Though, in my defense, getting new kitchen […]




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Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? Is it really mid- January already? I don’t know about you, and though I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, I still have Christmas decorations up in my house. Yikes! I better get myself in gear. 



As I mentioned on the blog last week, I spent this past Thursday and Friday in New York City. The wonderful folks at HomeGoods (Yes, HomeGoods!) are launching a brand new blog in the coming months and have invited me and several other amazing folks to be contributors. As you know, I’m a huge fan of HomeGoods (I know many of you are, too.), so this pairing is just perfect. 



They invited all of us to the city for a fun little blogger day. We stayed at the Gansevoort Hotel which was super swanky and fabulous. Purple chandeliers and armchairs upholstered in an oversize houndstooth pattern. I loved it!  On Thursday I had a couple “free” hours to explore the city. I jumped on the subway, and after getting slightly lost (I now know the difference between uptown and downtown, I think.), I ended up in SoHo and did a little shopping. I found a blue polka dot sweater at TopMan and a Members Only-inspired jacket at Zara. I love a good sale. The weather was gorgeous. I could have spent all afternoon exploring the city. After that, we all met up for dinner at Benjamin Steakhouse, which actually used to be the space occupied by Britney Spear’s restaurant Nyla. How’s that for a fun fact?



The following day was spent learning about HomeGoods and their plan for the blog. It sounds like it’s going to be an incredibly fun and inspirational space. I’m so excited to start blogging there. We also got some headshots for the blog. After lunch we were super surprised to find out that HomeGoods was bringing in Grace Bonney, creator and blogger behind the amazing Design*Sponge to speak to us about blogging. Talk about star struck. Not only is Grace really sweet and cute, but her advice was priceless. As I attempt to figure out where I want to take my life and this blog, her words of wisdom couldn’t have come at a better time. Now I need to put it into action! That’s the hard part.



A trip to New York City is always a bittersweet experience for me. Each time I’m there I find myself leaving with mixed emotions. I’m pretty sure I could never live in the city, but I absolutely love visiting! I could spend hours siting on a bench, people watching. There are so many beautiful people sporting some of the best clothes and hairstyles. The city is full of shops, shows, and restaurants. Endless stimulation for all five senses. It’s inspiring. As much as I am overjoyed at being there, I also have this sick feeling in my gut, knowing that I have to leave soon. I suppose that’s what love does to us. It twists our insides with both joy and sadness. (This is when I should be referring to my New Year’s goals for guidance, right?) I just try to absorb and enjoy as much as I can during the limited time I’m there and then look forward to my next visit. 



Regardless, it was such a fun time, and I’m so thankful to HomeGoods for their hospitality and beautiful accommodations. They truly have a rock star team and I’m endlessly appreciative of companies that reach out and support the efforts of bloggers. It allows us to continue to do what we love. 


Until we meet again, NYC.

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/14/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Disclosure: I was not paid or asked to write this post, I just wanted to share my awesome experience with you.

 

Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? Is it really mid- January already? I don’t know about you, and though I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, I still have Christmas decorations up in my house. Yikes! I better get myself in gear.  As I mentioned on the blog last week, I spent this past Thursday […]




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diy

Over the past four years I’ve managed to cleverly hide my kitchen floor from view on this blog.  Have you noticed? When I bought my house in 2008, the floor was pretty bad. Almost five years later, it looked even worse.



I’m not sure why someone would pick that pattern or color, but to each his own. After years of saving, I was finally able to get some new flooring. 



Yikes, right? Do you see why I’ve been hiding it from you for so long? Yes, we all have our dirty little secrets. 



I mentioned back in early December that the folks came to install it. Well, the wrong tile was sent and one thing lead to another. After the delay, the tile was finally installed this past week. I was so thankful that I had decided to bring in the professionals. I wasn’t even DIYing it and it was a hot mess. 



Before the new flooring arrived, I had to get rid of my cute, little built-in seating. Terrible, I know. But to be honest, as much as I enjoyed it, it had to go. Sections of the seat were torn, and the back of the banquette actually blocked about one third of the window. Weird, right? You can’t tell from the picture, but it was always something that bothered me. I love natural light, so the more, the better. 



I still have to take pictures of the new floor, so I’ll be back with those pictures next week. The kitchen isn’t quite back in shape either, due to various reasonswhich I’ll explain then. Nevertheless, I’m making progress and I’m completely smitten with the new floor. Stay tuned! 

This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/10/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Over the past four years I’ve managed to cleverly hide my kitchen floor from view on this blog.  Have you noticed? When I bought my house in 2008, the floor was pretty bad. Almost five years later, it looked even worse. I’m not sure why someone would pick that pattern or color, but to each his own. After years of saving, I was finally able to get […]




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Last week I showed you my new kitchen floor. Well, my kitchen also now has a new faucet! The fabulous people at Moen asked me to try out their new Arbor kitchen faucet with MotionSense. Test out a hands-free faucet? You bet!


 

To put it In a nutshell, Arbor with MotionSense is an amazing new system that allows you to operate the faucet without physical contact – literally eliminating steps and inconvenient messes that still happen with those faucets that you have to touch to turn on.

 

I decided to install the system myself. I don’t consider myself adept at plumbing so I’m not going to take you through the process. I will say the hardest part was removing the old faucet. 


Installing the new one was super simple. I couldn’t believe it. The only real challenge was that I turned the water off to my whole house and had no way to wash my hands until the job was complete.

 

Anyway, that’s not the point. I completed the process flawlessly, if I do say so myself. The best part? No leaks!


 

Now, more about the faucet. It is freaking amazing! There are a couple sensors in it. The first, which is on top, is called the wave sensor. You just wave your hand across the top and the faucet turns on. Wave your hand across it again, and it turns off.

 

The second sensor, the ready sensor, is located in the bottom front of the faucet. This one is my favorite. 



If you put your hands, a drinking glass, or a pan in front of the faucet it automatically senses your presence. When you are finished and move away from the sensor, the faucet automatically turns off. Genius! 



The Arbor with MotionSense is more convenient than standard faucets because it senses how the user wants the faucet to work and responds accordingly. 

 

There is also a traditional handle that allows you to adjust the water like a standard faucet.

 

For the hands-free option, the system allows you to set the water to whatever temperature you want. Mine is set right in the middle, room temperature. There is also a pull-down sprayer. This can be adjusted to a stream or spray. Love that!

 

Needless to say, I am enthralled with the Arbor with MotionSense. I also feel pretty cool when guests come over and I can show them how awesome the faucet is. And of course, I love the fact that since I’m not touching the faucet or lever constantly, it stays significantly cleaner and “less germy.” A real bonus in my busy kitchen.

 

So what do you think? How would the Arbor with MotionSense simplify your life?

Leave an answer to that question below and be entered to win a $100 gift card to the Home Depot! You can put it toward the purchase of your own Arbor with MotionSense! Good Luck!

Here’s how to enter: 

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: 
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post 
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post 

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post 

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. 

Entries from all participating blogs will be pooled for winner selection; only two entries per household.

No duplicate comments. 



This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. 

The Official Rules are available here. 

This sweepstakes runs from .  Be sure to visit the sponsor’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!


Last week I showed you my new kitchen floor. Well, my kitchen also now has a new faucet! The fabulous people at Moen asked me to try out their new Arbor kitchen faucet with MotionSense. Test out a hands-free faucet? You bet!   To put it In a nutshell, Arbor with MotionSense is an amazing new system that allows you to operate the faucet without […]




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This past weekend I had this crazy thought and desire to explore a new part of my creative side. I’ve always had a love for fashion, men’s fashion specifically, but I’m really a novice in this area. I have a limited knowledge of brands, designers, or all of the latest trends. What I do know is that fashion and interior design have a beautiful way of blending together. I think that each can inspire the other. I also know what I like and what I think looks good. That’s half the battle, right? Like interior design, fashion is very personal and very subjective. 


image source


I live in a town where sweats and anything camouflage are probably the top sellers when it comes to menswear. I have certainly dulled down my personal style and fashion risks due to this. Well, as I move ahead in 2013 and toward my thirties, it seems silly not to be exactly who I want to be or wear what I want to wear. 


image source

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to let you know that I have decided to not only explore this interest personally, but also publicly. After a little research, it seems that the easiest way for me to share my inspirations and ideas is via Tumblr. I created a Tumblr page for Inspired by Charm a while back that I’m now putting to good use. So, if you’d like, feel free to follow along. If you don’t use Tumblr, you’re welcome to check out my “i wear” board on Pinterest.


image source


Once I build up my confidence in the area of men’s attire, I hope to include occasional “what I wore” posts on IBC as well. I do realize that more than 80% of you are females, but I hope you’ll be able to pull some inspiration from such posts or be able to share them with the men in your life. In the meantime, if you are interested in more information on this subject, check out three of my new favorite bloggers: Scout Sixteen, This Fellow, and Kolonel Mustard, who all focus on the well-dressed male.  


Thanks for joining me on this new mini-adventure! What creative areas in your life would you like to explore?


This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/9/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

This past weekend I had this crazy thought and desire to explore a new part of my creative side. I’ve always had a love for fashion, men’s fashion specifically, but I’m really a novice in this area. I have a limited knowledge of brands, designers, or all of the latest trends. What I do know is that fashion and interior design have […]




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life

Well, I finally managed to write down my goals for this new year. To be honest, I’m a bit excited for 2013. Like lots of folks, I have some grand hopes for this year. This is also the year I turn the big 3-0. While many people cringe at the thought, I’m actually looking forward to my thirties with great optimism. I have great expectations for the next ten years. But as they say, you have to work for your goals and make your own dreams happen. I’m ready.


I came up with five goals that I would like to focus on in 2013. While I have many ideas and areas to consider, these seem to encapsulate the majority of them. These goals are pretty personal, but I decided to share them here with the whole world anyway. Nothing like putting yourself out there, right?


So for what it’s worth, here they are.


Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Whenever something really good or really bad happens in my life, I tend to focus only on that one thing. For example, if I’m working on a project or a new recipe and it flops, my mind is somehow programmed to see just that negative event. I tend to forget all the other wonderful, positive, and amazing things happening in my life. I suppose this makes me a pessimist, even though I would tend to disagree with that. This goal also means that just because one thing, good or bad, is happening that I can’t focus on or do anything else. Do you ever get something stuck in your head that makes it seem impossible to do or think about anything else? This happens to me way too often. I end up wasting a great deal of time and energy worrying about things that will most likely never happen. This leads me to goal number two.




Be present. If there is one goal that I really need to accomplish, this is it. I have mentioned it here before, but I am a worrier. As we all know, worrying isn’t the most productive thing we can do. I know I spend too much time over-analzying, over-thinking, and over-reacting. So, the goal here is to learn from the past, plan for the future, and enjoy today. Instead of thinking about an important meeting tomorrow while watching the newest episode of Downton Abbey, I will turn my brain off, enjoy every minute of the show, and then plan for the meeting afterwards. Or viceversa. You get it. I think being present is a huge key to living a happier life. Life can be tough and challenging. That’s why it’s so important to hang on to and enjoy those beautiful and happy moments that we have. Those memories make the challenges just a little bit more bearable. 



Live with intention. Though I may hide it a bit here on the blog, I am a waster of time. I often find myself complaining that there are not enough hours in the day. Then, a moment later, I find myself wasting time on frivolous things that really offer no value or enrichment to my life. While I’d like to blame social media for this, it ultimately rests on my shoulders. Although some of that “wasted time” is good, most of it is kind of silly. Basically, I hope to do things more intentionally – to not waste time on foolish things, to do things with purpose. I hope to spend more time accomplishing goals and projects than on planning or researching them. Living with intention for me also means finding a better work / life balance. I have given myself fully to my career over the past five years; it’s now time to cut myself a little slack and enjoy other things in life.



Love myself. If I can’t do this, how in the hell am I going to love somebody else? Or expect someone else to love me. This goal has several meanings. First, I am awesome and I am enough. You are, too. We all are. It’s it about darn time we start believing it. At the end of the day, all each of us has is who we are. We might as well love that person. Secondly, I need and want to take care of my body. It’s been good to me, so I need to return the favor. Finally, for years now I have for some silly reason shied away from finding someone to share my life with. While I’m so grateful and appreciative for all the wonderful things in my life, something is still missing. I’m now, more than ever fully aware what that something is. Thankfully, I’ve been able to build a great life, a warm home, and a successful career for myself. Now, I just need to find someone to share it with. It’s about time. Any applicants? Seriously. 




Fall forward. There is a 99% chance I am going to fail at all of these goals several times throughout this new year. That’s okay. The important things is to fall forward. I need to learn from my mistakes, pick myself up, and continue on. Mistakes make us stronger and smarter. No matter how hard we try to avoid them, some are inevitable. Plus, if you are making mistakes, you are putting yourself out there, doing something, trying new things … living. So this year, I will fall. But I will fall forward. 


So that’s it, my personal goals for 2013! What are you focusing on in 2013?


This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/8/2013.


All text, photographs, and graphics were created by Lifestyle Blogger Michael Wurm, Jr. unless stated otherwise.

Well, I finally managed to write down my goals for this new year. To be honest, I’m a bit excited for 2013. Like lots of folks, I have some grand hopes for this year. This is also the year I turn the big 3-0. While many people cringe at the thought, I’m actually looking forward to my thirties with great optimism. I have great expectations for the next […]




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 Well folks, I’m back. It’s about time, right? I’m still not positive my head is on 100% straight, but I’ve figured out some things, and it’s time to get back to business. This is actually going to be a busy week for me. On Thursday and Friday I’ll be in New York City for another little adventure.

Before I hop on a plane again, I figured it would be a good idea to finish the recap of my trip to Atlanta in December. As you already know, I spent the second half of that week with the wonderful folks at Buick. Yes, I still can’t believe it.Earlier in the week, I had the pleasure of hanging out with the people at Ballard Designs. They invited about ten bloggers to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate and bring their catalog to life. I’m a huge fan of their products so replying yes to their invitation wasn’t even a question!

I apologize in advance as some of these photos were taken with my (or another blogger’s) iPhone camera. This is one of those photos. 


If you are a big blogger follower, you may recognize some of these ladies. In the front row are CassityMelissa, Rhoda, and Traci. In the back are me, SarahBeth, and Kate.  Yes, I know. Talk about a brush with fame. Ballard certainly knows how to pick them! It was an absolute joy and pleasure meeting these ladies. I had to pinch myself several times throughout the experience. It’s one thing to read and follow along with someone via her blog. Meeting all of these bloggers in real life was completely wonderful but surreal. 

The first evening we had a fabulous dinner and then a night cap (with lots of conversation) at the hotel bar. The next morning Ballard picked us up and took us to their headquarters. Four other Atlanta-based bloggers and designers were there as well – SherryLoriErika, and  Dayka. Since they weren’t staying at the hotel, they missed out on the fun photo above. Anyway, Ballard was kind enough to take us through their entire facility, showing us offices, design boards, warehouses, and so much more. 




They also flew down Britney Simon, who was the runner-up and fan favorite of the past season of HGTV’s Design Star. Isn’t she adorable?

It was amazing to see exactly how much goes into producing a catalog and online shop. From the initial product conception to the final catalog, the amount of work, time, and dedication in unbelievable. They even have folks who travel across the world looking for inspiration from vintage pieces.


After that we were whisked over to a multimillion-dollar estate that Ballard was renting to photograph their newest catalog. 


Talk about being speechless – I can now say with certainty that I have never been in a more beautiful, grand house in my life. It was still being completed when we visited, but you could tell it is going to be a showpiece.  


Creative Director Jill Sharp Brinson gave us a tour of the property and showed us how she and her team use and style the space for the catalog photo shoots.


Clearly, the photographer in me failed on this particular day. For much better shots of this space, check out Rhoda’s and Traci’s posts. 

What a joy and thrill it was to see how this process worked. 



There were accessories everywhereStacks and stacks of books, all in color order.



 Dozens of bottles of wine and, of course, fabulous design.


I’m so thankful to Ballard Designs for those two fun-filled days. I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for us bloggers in 2013. I mean, Ballard loves bloggers, right? A huge thank you to all of the bloggers as well. With most of you knowing each other already, you certainly made this small town boy from Pennsylvania feel welcome. 

Thanks for sharing in my little recap. Have you shopped from Ballard before? Any favorite pieces?



Disclosure: I was not asked by Ballard or compensated to write this post, I just think they are awesome.

 Well folks, I’m back. It’s about time, right? I’m still not positive my head is on 100% straight, but I’ve figured out some things, and it’s time to get back to business. This is actually going to be a busy week for me. On Thursday and Friday I’ll be in New York City for another […]




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Hello, everyone! It’s been a while, hasn’t it. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a beautiful start to the new year! I can’t believe it’s officially 2013. To be honest, I’m not certain that I’m 100% ready for another year. While I’m excited about all the promises, opportunities, and adventures the new year offers, I’m also kind of freaking out. You see, this year carries an incredible amount of change for my life (details coming soon), and I’m not sure how to deal with all of that change. Right now 2013 looks like this big brick wall. There are some amazing things on the other side of it.However, instead of leaping over like I normally do, I sat down in front of it. This has some benefits, of course – like finally watching the first seasons of Downton Abbey (Yes, I love it. I may be kind of obsessed.), but sitting in front of a wall really isn’t my style. At this point, I just need to discover how to jump, climb, or crawl over it.


I’ve been so inspired by everyone’s resolutions, goals, and words of focus for the year. I just haven’t been able to figure out my own. I suppose, though, when it comes down to it, that’s okay. There is no point in coming up with goals or a vision when I’m not ready for it. Right? I do need to get my butt in gear pretty soon because watching Downton Abbey isn’t going to pay my bills. Thank you so much for your patience while I decide what to do. I promise I’ll be back soon and hopefully better than ever! I have so much exciting news to share with you, fun projects, delicious recipes, and lots of new ideas for this year. I just need to get them all out of my brain first.



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Hello, everyone! It’s been a while, hasn’t it. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a beautiful start to the new year! I can’t believe it’s officially 2013. To be honest, I’m not certain that I’m 100% ready for another year. While I’m excited about all the promises, opportunities, and adventures the new year offers, I’m also kind of freaking out. You see, this […]




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